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William Cox: Blue Mountains Road Builder and Pastoralist
William Cox (1764-1837) was an English soldier, an explorer, a road builder, and a pioneering pastoralist in the early period of British settlement in the colony of New South Wales, Australia. In 1814, Cox supervised the construction of a road across Australia's Blue Mountains, and it was a remarkable achievement. His team of 30 convicts made 163...
William Cox (1764-1837) was an English soldier, an explorer, a road builder, and a pioneering pastoralist in the early period of British settlement in the colony of New South Wales, Australia. In 1814, Cox supervised the construction of a road across Australia's Blue Mountains, and it was a remarkable achievement. His team of 30 convicts made 163 kilometers of road through appalling terrain, and they did so without serious accident or loss of life. This was in part a consequence of Cox's sympathetic treatment of his convict workers. Today, "Cox's Road" is considered a famous bush walk. In subsequent years, William Cox became a leading pastoralist in the colony, helping to carry through the developments which gave Australia its first significant exports. He also championed the rights of ex-convicts, whom he recognized as having created the colony through their labor. He looked forward to a country peopled by free-born British citizens with citizens' rights. By the time of his death, he had become a 'national' figure. In the first book-length biography of William Cox, author Richard Cox (a descendant) gives the details of Cox's life, from early scandal through to success, redeeming the career of one of the pioneers of colonial Australia.
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